As Christians, we often think everyone needs to like us. If people want to be around us and think we’re nice, we assume we’re representing Christ well.
Here’s the problem with that line of thinking: It roots the standard for Christ-likeness in other people’s opinions. They are not God. Jesus is God, and there were some people who didn’t like him when he was on earth. In fact, certain people despised Him. Our standard for Christlikeness is … (wait for it) … Christ. Continue reading
King Solomon questioned, “Who can say, ‘I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin’?” (Proverbs 20:9). He’s right. It’s hard to find an Old Testament example of someone who is pure-hearted.
For one thing, the Hebrew idea we typically translate as heart means “the center of the human spirit, from which spring emotions, thoughts, motivations, courage and action” (NIV Study Bible notes for Psalm 4:7). It’s a tall order to keep all that pure! Continue reading
For our on-going series seeking the Beatitudes in the Old Testament,
welcome a special guest for this month: Leigh Powers. You'll be blessed by
Leigh's reflections on an Old Testament prophet you probably don't know!
Read more about Leigh at the end of the post.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. –Matthew 5:6
Huldah lived through some of the
darkest days of Judah’s history,
but she never stopped hungering
and thirsting for righteousness.
Scripture remembers Josiah as one of Israel’s greatest kings, but at the center of Josiah’s story is a woman who we sometimes forget: the prophet Huldah. Huldah lived through some of the darkest days of Judah’s history, but she never stopped hungering and thirsting for righteousness. She remained resolutely committed to God and God’s Word, and the Lord saw that her hunger for righteousness was satisfied. Continue reading
A weak person can’t be gentle.
A fearless person can’t be courageous.
Gentleness is the restraint of strength. Courage is the overcoming of fear.
In the same way, being meek requires an ability…perhaps even a propensity…for its opposite. Continue reading
Of course, Peter was the first one to say it out loud. He always said what others only thought. Except sometimes he didn’t think before he spoke. “Act first, think about it later.” That’s how Peter rolled. But when he said this thing, everyone was still calling him Simon.
The Rock was just starting to roll. Continue reading
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. –John 14:6
Heat from the fire battled streams of cold air pushing through the window gaps of her family’s old house, but the wood in the fire was dry, and the stones of the fireplace were gradually warming the air around them. Rain echoed from the attic, so conversation was sparse. At least they had lights. Lyla shivered and tightened the afghan around her shoulders.
It was, as Snoopy would say, “a dark and stormy night.” Continue reading
“How did we get here?” It’s one of the questions I ponder after every school shooting, after every senseless act of violence, after every scandal in the public arena. It’s one of the questions I ask God. The longer version: “Oh Lord, how did this country come to be like it is today?”
Sometimes I mourn for the state of our country…our world. Maybe you do, too. Jesus said,
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. –Matthew 5:4
Like many of Jesus’ statements, this line seems backward at first. Like I’m going to celebrate my grief because I experienced some comfort in it?!? It would still be better not to have grieved at all, thank you very much!
Maybe we don’t really understand “blessed.” Continue reading